AUSTRALIAN STOCKS PICK UP: What you need to know

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Australian shares picked up at the start of a new month.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,653.20 +32.29 +0.57%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,704.00 +29.00 +0.51%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7567 -0.0019 -0.25%

The local market shrugged off weak global markets to make up part of the 0.79% fall in the ASX 200 index over January.

The big miners led the way with BHP adding 1.6% to close at $27.08 and Woodside Petroleum 1.4% to $32.00.

Fortescue Metals hit a six year high, closing 2.2% higher at $6.81, following a positive production report on Tuesday.

Among the banks, Westpac was up 0.8% to $31.99.

The top stories:

1. OFX ditches CEO and issues profit downgrade. The international money transfer fintech has been hit by Brexit and by a marketing program that didn’t deliver. Its shares lost almost 24% to close at $1.27.

2. Move over Melbourne Cup. Sydney will have Australia’s richest horse race, a $10 million sprint, dubbed The Everest, at Royal Randwick.

3. The Commonwealth Bank grabs a bigger share. The bank, the nation’s largest home loan lender, posted 6.7% growth in mortgages in its first half.

4. The latest house price surge and investors. According to the RBA, housing investor credit grew by 0.8% in December, the largest monthly increase seen since June 2015.

5. Private equity interest in Fairfax? A US-based fund is said to be sounding out senior executives in the Australian media industry. Fairfax shares closed up 5.8% at $0.90.

6. The Australian companies to suffer most from a Trump border tax. A range of Australian companies could be hit including those selling wine, medical supplies, software and clothing, according to analysis by Citi.

7. Sydney house prices have doubled in just 8 years. Australian capital city house prices rose by an average of more than 10% in 2016.

8. InStitchu just opened a New York City store. This is the Sydney fashion startup’s first presence outside of Australia and New Zealand.

9. Stocks to watch during the half year reporting season. Earnings per share growth is forecast to surge by up to 17% as companies report results over the next few weeks.

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